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Jun 5, 2014 07:56 PM

Italian Food in Chicago

We'll be vacationing in Chicago this month and are hoping to get some good Italian food.

Here is what we're looking for --- A good red sauce, old school Italian place preferably with homemade pasta where casual dress is okay.

Since we'll be relying on the subway to get around, it will have to be near a station.

Any suggestions? Thank you!

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  1. Where will you be staying?

    You cannot get more old school than Italian Village -

    for high end modern Italian you cannot beat Spiggia

    1. La Scarola,, is very much an "old school" red sauce Italian restaurant. Food is very good but I am not sure how much of their pasta is home made.

      (Btw, we call our mass transit rail system the "el," not "subway," even as to the portions that run on underground, rather than elevated, tracks. )

      1 Reply
      1. re: masha

        A lot easier to find old school red sauce in the suburbs than in the city. A lot fewer good places than there used to be.
        I second La Scarola.
        I would also suggest Tufano's near the Blue Line. Ask for your pasta al dente if you want it that way. (I'll never understand why so many people like their noodles overcooked.)
        For a weekday lunch, an excellent specimen of old school red sauce is J & C Bombacigno at 558 W. Van Buren, near the Loop.

      2. I've always been a fan of Sabatino's on Irving Park Rd. It is a 4 block walk west of the Irving Park Blue Line stop.

        1. We're staying in the Loop.

          I recalled seeing The Italian Village on a Food Network show once---just couldn't remember the name but I did remember how it is 3 restaurants in one. Which one of the 3 do you recommend?

          La Scarola looks great. The menu is just what I'm looking for!

          I will look up Tufano's and Sabatino's. Once I've done that, I'm going to pass along all the info to my husband to see what he thinks :)

          Here in the DC area, good old school red sauce Italian food is hard to find :(

          Thank you all for the helpful info!

          1 Reply
          1. re: MizYellowRose

            Not exactly what you asked for, but if you have some time and because you obviously like Italian food, I highly recommend a stroll through Eataly. It gets crowded, and some times are more peak than others, but to me it's an amusement park of food and I love it. Because I live here I tend to do more take-out of ingredients to prepare at home, but I have also enjoyed their espresso bar and gelato bar (both on the first floor), and the pasta restaurant, the focaccia counter (probably the best bargain in the place, and one square makes a moderate lunch or a substantial snack), the cheese and charcuterie, and the birreria, all upstairs. There are also plenty of packaged goods to take home for gifts or for your own pantry.